Newbury Society Bulletin October 2023


Lochailort withdrew their appeal against the refusal of their original planning applications at the beginning of September and almost immediately submitted a new application, 23/02094/FULMAJ, which is now open for representations to be made to West Berkshire Council.The most obvious change is a reduction in the height of the tallest block from 10 stories to 8 – there is a more detailed commentary with further images on pages 4 to 6 of this bulletin.

Block A as now proposed (West side, New Street elevation) 

Dates for Your Diary – 2023/24

Talks are held in the Parish Room, St John’s Church, St John’s Road, Newbury RG14 7PY.

Admission is free for members or £2.50 for non-members. Visitors are most welcome.

Thursday 12th October, 7:30pm – AGM + David Peacock: Newbury in 2023 

Newbury Society chairman David Peacock will be reviewing the past year; talking about Newbury today, some of its attractions, and the range of challenges it faces.  The main topic for discussion will be the latest proposal for the redevelopment of the Kennet Centre

Thursday 9th November, 7:30pm – Dave Stubbs: Lord Falkland, his life, times, death and memorial

There must be many people in West Berkshire who pass the massive granite obelisk at the top of ‘Wash Hill’ and have little or no idea of its origins, the man it was named after or even any connection with the Falkland Islands.

Having become immersed in the story of the First Battle of Newbury after digging up a musket ball in his back garden, Dave Stubbs, long-time resident and erstwhile ‘local bobby’ for Wash Common has recently spent time looking at the fascinating character of Lucius Cary, 2nd Viscount Falkland, who he was, why as a politician he was even fighting in the battle and why his death is commemorated in one of the biggest English Civil War monuments – and how this became only the second property taken into custody of the fledgling National Trust in 1897.


Thursday 8th February, 7:30pm – Details to be advised 

Thursday 14th March, 7:30pm – Clive Williams: The Cravens

Thursday 11th April, 7:30pm – Jonathan Hopson: The Origins of Camp Hopson 

Thursday 9th May, 7:30pm – Details to be advised 

Cherry Palmer 1928 – 2023 

Long-term supporter of The Newbury Society Cherry Palmer died in July aged 95, and Winterbourne Church was packed for her funeral.

Society members will probably remember her best from the times when Cherry and her husband Bill played host to The Newbury Society summer garden parties, at their home Bussock Wood at Snelsmore for several years in the 1990s and 2000s.  Although she had not played an active role for some time, she continued to support the Society’s work.

Cherry was born and grew up in London, as Cherry Gibbs.  She married Bill Palmer in 1949 and they had four children: Serena, Alex, Howard and John.  At first they lived at Warfield, then moved to Cheshire, and then back to Berkshire in the early 1960s to Phillips Hill at Snelsmore, now called Bussock Wood.  

She joined the Red Cross in Newbury in 1965, and became very active.  When Idi Amin expelled the Ugandan Asians in the 1970s, she was closely involved in setting up a refugee centre at Greenham Common.  She worked her way up to become Divisional President of the British Red Cross before retiring in 1989.

Bill Palmer was one of the Palmer family which was associated with Reading-based Huntley & Palmers for generations, and he became a director.  He was also a district and county councillor, and in 1992 Deputy Lieutenant of Berkshire.  He died in October 2020, during Covid.

A tribute to Cherry’s life was given at the funeral by her son John, and her daughter Alexandra Crockatt read of Desiderata: Words for Life by Max Ehrmann.  The service was taken by the vicar of Chieveley and Winterbourne, the Rev. John Toogood, with the Rev. Carol Kimberley, Cherry’s god-daughter, also leading prayers.  Donations were in aid of the British Red Cross and Winterbourne Church.


to be held on Thursday 12th October 2023 at 7.30 p.m. in the Parish Room, St. John’s Church, St. John’s Road, Newbury RG14 7PY


  1. Apologies for Absence
  2. Chairman’s Report on behalf of the Executive Committee and approval thereof
  3. Treasurer’s Report and presentation and approval of Independently Examined Accounts to 30th June 2023
  4. Election of 

(a) Officers 

Chairman Dr David Peacock Secretary Graham Smith

Vice Chairman Vacancy Treasurer Mike Hood

  1. Committee Members

The following existing committee members are standing for re-election:

Dr. Paul Bryant Garry Poulson John Handy

Chris Marriage

  1. Appointment of Independent Examiner
  2. Any Other Business 
  3. Presentation and Discussion led by David Peacock – Newbury in 2023.  This will include a review of how the proposal to redevelop the Kennet Centre is progressing.

Graham V Smith



The Committee may appoint a Patron, a President and one or more Vice Presidents and details of these are advised to members at the AGM.  Currently Lord Benyon is President and Garry Poulson is a Vice President.

All Officers and Members of the Committee retire annually but are eligible for re-election

Details are as at 4th October 2023.  Nominations are invited for additional committee members – they should be made in writing to the Secretary and have the consent of the person nominated.  In the absence of sufficient nominations proposals may be accepted from the floor at the meeting. 

Copies of the Annual Report and the Accounts will be available for viewing at the meeting or may be obtained in advance by contacting the Secretary

Their Finest Hour

People from in and around Newbury will have the opportunity to take part in a personal history of World War II called “Their Finest Hour.”  It is co-ordinated by Oxford University, in co-operation locally with the Culture team of West Berkshire Council, based at Newbury Library.

A “digital collection day” will be held in Newbury in January, with other days arranged in November in Theale and Hungerford.  The project is looking for original documents and artefacts and any keepsakes with a personal story (or simply memories and stories passed down), which will be photographed and recorded. They will then be uploaded online to an archive which will be free to access from June 2024.

The digital collection day for Newbury will take place at West Berkshire Museum on Wednesday 17th January, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  The date for Theale is 14th November and for Hungerford 30th November.

Their Finest Hour launched in July 2022, and is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The mission is to document the human story of the Second World War by recording personal histories and objects. Although most eyewitnesses of the conflict have died, the aim is to gather their stories and personal effects from their descendants to preserve them for future generations.

More information about the project is available at

Latest plans for Kennet Centre redevelopment

Revised plans for the Kennet Centre redevelopment (23/02094/FULMAJ), now with 426 flats, are on the West Berkshire Council planning website and open to public comments.

The site plan (4th floor)

Blocks S and B (East side, elevations facing New Street)

The highest parts of the development are now three eight-storey blocks of flats (two of them with the top storey partly in the roof).  Among them, the largest block is now Block S, which broadly replaces the office block or retirement complex in the previous applications.  It consists of 121 flats, with an 8-storey element along the central “New Street” (roughly the height of the Telephone Exchange), and a six-storey southern end facing Market Street opposite the three and four storeys of the Weavers Yard development.

The proposals for Cheap Street remain largely the same as in the previous application, with a five-storey block next to the cinema, and now with a six-storey wing of Block A behind the Catherine Wheel, instead of a seven-storey wing.  A major service entrance to the development (including rubbish collection) is through this section, opposite “Walkabout.”

In Bartholomew Street, the previously-proposed six-storey block of flats next to the multi-storey car park is reduced to five storeys, but the design has not changed.  The multi-storey itself would no longer have the additional spaces the last application added on top. 

Most of the amended street-frontage designs for Cheap Street and Bartholomew Street included in the previous scheme, prepared by the Robert Adam architectural consultancy, have been included in the present scheme and are a significant improvement on the designs originally put forward.

In Market Street, two six-storey blocks of flats would face the street, roughly double the height of the cinema, with the entrance to New Street between them.

The previous shortage of parking spaces still applies, with only 83 dedicated parking spaces for 426 flats, when current planning policy would require 471.  The developers propose that the whole of the existing Kennet Centre multi-storey car park should be considered as part of their parking allocation, yet they are not proposing to change any of the existing spaces into dedicated spaces for their residents: the spaces would remain first-come-first-served, and the users would be charged, as now.

This time the developers have included some “affordable housing” in their plans, with 19 units (flats), but they make it clear repeatedly that this is “subject to viability.”  With the previous applications, the developers resisted the provision of any affordable housing at all, and submitted reports to show that any affordable housing was unviable.

The present scheme, which the developers have labelled “Eagle Quarter II,” is also well below the council’s policy target for amenity space. 

Based on floorspace, what is now proposed is 88% residential (including “ancillary to residential”), 5.1% shops, and 1.2% offices.  Among the flats there are studio (9.9%), 1-bedroom (42.5%), 2-bedroom (44.1%) and 3-bedroom (3.5%) flats proposed.  All would be flats-for-rent.

The redevelopment plans for the Kennet Centre, from Lochailort, were originally put forward in 2021 and were revised twice before being rejected by West Berkshire Council in November 2022.  The developers then lodged an appeal (announced in June 2023), and held a series of meetings with West Berkshire Council before withdrawing their appeal and lodging this new application in September (validated on 25th September).

As previously, the elevations for this scheme have not been well-publicised, with the developers choosing to use their “verified views” instead.  However, all the elevations used here (and more) are available on the West Berkshire Council planning website.  The most accessible written detail is probably that in the Planning Statement, close to the bottom of the section headed “Associated Documents.”

The published notices request that comments about the plans be submitted by 19th October, although West Berkshire Council is expected to accept representations until at least the end of the month.  They should be emailed to, submitted via the planning application search portal (requires registration for a login), or sent in writing to the Planning Department at Council Offices, Market Street, Newbury RG14 5LD.  The Newbury Society will be submitting detailed comments.  Do let us know your views, and please copy us in on any submissions to WBC.  At this stage, a decision is not expected before late November.  

Proposals for The Wharf

We reported in last year’s October bulletin on some ‘masterplan’ proposals for various changes to The Wharf area.  A planning application (23/02140/CERTP) has now been submitted seeking confirmation that some aspects can go ahead without obtaining detailed planning consent.

The changes proposed at the moment largely involve the ‘Peace Garden’ to the west of Park Way Bridge and the river edge areas to its east.  The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust is particularly concerned that the intention appears to be to merely cap the existing river edging and not to properly repair the bank so as to prevent material from being washed out from behind the piling.

THE NEWBURY SOCIETY – OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE 2022/23President: Lord Benyon      Vice President: Garry Poulson
OFFICERSChairman, Planning Spokesman and Local History Advisor:
David Peacock 01635 524017 and Membership Administrator:
Mike Hood 07775 800183

Secretary, Bulletin Editor and Waterways Representative:
Graham Smith 01635 580356

COMMITTEEDr Paul BryantJohn Handy (Trees & Landscaping Advisor)

Chris Marriage

Garry Poulson 

Posted in Bulletins.

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